[TUHS] SVR4 x86 -- Sources

Doug McIntyre merlyn at geeks.org
Wed Jul 20 09:17:41 AEST 2011

On Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 07:53:46PM +1000, Nick Downing wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 5:54 PM, Wesley Parish
> <wes.parish at paradise.net.nz> wrote:
> > For what it's worth, if I remember correctly, 4.3BSD was one of the major
> > contributions to SVR4. I suspect that if it hadn't been, nobody would've bought it.
> My understanding had been that BSD and SysV were quite distinct and
> that BSD forked off around the early research editions (V6 or V7?), 

Prior to SVR4, there were the two camps, with SVR3 being "business"
and BSD mostly being University/Research. With SVR4, things became
alot less distinct, and it was really only the linux camp that really
kept beating the drum that they were still so different. 

> if indeed 4.3BSD was a major contributor to SVR4 then it would have been
> in a few specific areas, 

It was more Sun with 4BSD based SunOS that contributed into SVR4 than
4.3BSD proper. At the time, that was some University somewhere, not what was
current in the Unix world.

> e.g. the sockets code, because SysV had its
> own competing idea called STREAMS that I believe was later discarded
> (or not used much) when the BSD sockets API became the de facto
> standard.  

There's both the STREAMS API (more properly XTI/TPI) and the STREAMS
Kernel network processing paths. XTI/TPI have died by the wayside
surplanted by the Sockets API, but the STREAMS kernel stuff is still
very much part of Solaris. To me, it seemed like Sun never really gave
all that it did for the streams kernel stuff back into SVR4, but alot
of the networking code seemed to be an early draft of what Solaris did
with it. Any SVR4 varients still ran with the streams networking kernel code.

> Also as I understand it, SunOS was a BSD which had heaps of
> development and original ideas put into it (shared libraries I think
> is one example),

Yes SunOS was definately 4.xBSD and had lots of research and
innovation I think. The big Sun Whitepaper book of research papers is 
pretty interesting reading.

>  but was discarded as a political decision because
> AT&T had managed to convince most corporate customers that BSD was
> merely a hack and SysV was the "real unix", so Sun decided to create
> Solaris instead by licensing SysV as a starting point, I may have
> things slightly backward so I would appreciate if anyone can confirm
> this?

I didnt see AT&T driving new "business" aspects of any flavor of
unix. They already had that perception going strong in the
market. AT&T's goals were more of uniting the various paths of unix
that were really already out. From the many BSD based systems with
SysV influences (ie. SunOS, Ultrix), and the Sys III type systems, to
the really strange one-off research type systems. All into one grand
unified Unix to take over the market. Until the revolt for having 
AT&T be the overlord master overtook them and shattered it all again. 

Sun and AT&T were partners developing SVR4 to some extent. Some of
Sun's tech went into SVR4 (based on their 4BSD based SunOS). To me, as
an outsider, it seemed Sun kept alot of tech to itself and rolled it
into Solaris. At the time, Sun's stated reason for creating Solaris
was to move to multi-processor machines, and that the 4BSD based code
had too many global-locks (something that FreeBSD had struggled with
even relatively recently), and moving to the new architecture would be
a lot easier for the future and would help them overcome those
limitations. Of course, this migration probably took far far longer than
they ever expected. But once Solaris actually became usable, it certainly did
rock a lot more than SunOS on the hardware it was tweaked for.

I didn't see Sun as not holding back on licensing SVR4. They seemed to
get what they wanted out of the deal with AT&T, and created Solaris as
their desired path out of the deficits they had with SunOS with the
partners they had on hand. 

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